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North Allegheny grad ready to compete on Olympic wrestling team



PITTSBURGH - Jake Herbert grew up as the next generation of a wrestling dynasty at North Allegheny High School.

Jake's father won a state championship for N.A. in 1974, and pictures of his dad, uncles and cousins line the walls in the N.A. wrestling room.

"I saw this every day in high school," he said, pointing to the pictures. "I wanted to be up there with them."

Jake followed in his father's footsteps by winning a state title at N.A. He was a two-time national champion at Northwestern University and a member of the U.S. World Team.

Now, wrestling at 84 kilos, or 185 pounds, he's focused on the ultimate title at the Summer Olympics in London.

"It'll mean everything just having that gold medal," Herbert told Channel 11's Alby Oxenreiter. "It's what I've trained for. It's what I've sacrificed for. When I train and sacrifice for something, I get it done."

For Jake, anything short of gold will be failure.

"I hate that silver medal. Some people get second in the world and are supposed to like it, but you don't win silver. You lose gold," he said.

Despite the pressure, he's having fun and trying to soak up every moment. But the Olympics are always on his mind.

"I have little triggers everywhere. The back of my phone has a gold medal. My iPad has a gold medal. My computer has an Olympic gold medal," he said. "You surround yourself with it. You start thinking about it. It consumes you."

Herbert knows there are no guarantees, but he's confident he's done everything possible to prepare, and that this is his time.

"You have to hate losing. You have to hate losing more than you love winning," said Herbert.